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BreakingNew:FG closes case against Onnoghen after 3 witnesses

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Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, after it produced only three witnesses that testified before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT.

Suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen Though FG initially expressed its intention to produce a total of six witnesses to substantiate all the allegations it levelled against the embattled CJN, however, shortly after the third witness was discharged, the prosecution counsel told the tribunal that it would be unnecessary to call further witnesses.

The prosecution counsel, Mr. Aliyu Umar, SAN, told the tribunal that the defendant was at liberty to summon any of the listed but uncalled witnesses to testify on his behalf if he so wished. He was immediately overruled by the CCT Chairman, Mr. Danladi Umar, even as Onnoghen’s lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, rejected the offer.

“This is the case of the prosecution. If it feels that it is satisfied with evidence of the three witnesses, then so be it”, the CCT Chairman held. Thereafter, Awomolo told the tribunal that the CJN would in line with section 303 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015, enter a no case submission with respect to all the allegations FG levelled against him. Awomolo, therefore, applied for record of proceedings of the tribunal to enable his client to file the necessary processes.

The case was subsequently adjourned till next week Friday for hearing of the no-case application by the embattled CJN, as well as for adoption of the final written addresses. Earlier in the proceeding, the third prosecution witness, PW-3, Mr. Ifeoma Okagbue, a staff of Standard Chartered Bank in Abuja, told the tribunal that it was not true that the defendant possessed either $1million or £1million in any of the five bank accounts that necessitated the charge. Okagbue who told the tribunal that she started managing Onnoghen’s bank accounts since 2015, gave a load down of both the opening and closing balance of all the accounts from January 2018 to January 2019.

She said the accounts were all linked to one Bank Verification Code, BVN, adding that the bank had upon securing an approval from the defendant, diverted funds from the accounts into various profit yielding ventures. The PW-3 told the tribunal that profits that accrued from the investments were credited back into the accounts. While two of the accounts are in Naira, the three others were Pounds Sterling, Euro and Dollar accounts. The witness told the tribunal that all the accounts were domiciliary, and were opened and managed at the branch of the bank in Wuse 2, Abuja.

Before Mrs. Okagbue mounted the witness box, the PW-2, who is a retired Director at the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, Mr. Awal Yakassai, told the Mr. Umar led three-man panel that contrary to what was alleged in the media, he said the suspended CJN owned only five houses.

He said it was not true that CCB investigators linked the ownership of 55 houses to the defendant. The witness made the disclosure after he was shown copies of Justice Onnoghen’s asset declaration forms, which the Federal Government tendered in evidence before the CCT.

The embattled CJN was said to have submitted the forms marked as Exhibit 2 and 3, to the CCB in 2014 and 2016.

Answering questions under cross-examination, the PW-2, told the tribunal that he served at the CCB for 29 years before he retired in April 2018. He admitted that the CCB was yet to verify Justice Onnoghen’s assets with a view to finding out if he made false declarations. Aside allegation that he failed to declare his assets as prescribed by the law, FG had in the charge marked CCT/ABJ/01/19, FG, alleged that Onnoghen operated five foreign bank accounts, contrary to section 15(2) of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.

FG had insisted that it was the CCB that okayed Onnoghen’s trial based on certain infractions that were discovered in his asset declaration forms.

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NIGER STATE GOVERNMENT TO COMMENCE PAYMENT OF THE N30,000 NEW MINIMUM WAGE THIS MONTH

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Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has disclosed that the state government is to commence the payment of the new National Minimum Wage this January.
The Governor made the disclosure when he received Chairmen of the 25 Local Government Areas on a solidarity visit over the recent Supreme Court verdict affirming his election as the duly elected Governor of the state.
Governor Bello said that a committee has been set up already and considerable progress has been made in an ongoing negotiation to begin the implementation of the new minimum wage.
“At the moment our top priority is to address those that have been affected directly by the minimum wage and what it means is, anyone who is below the minimum wage policy”.
“I have given the directive that it should be implemented this January, so that those that are entitled or fall within the class of minimum wage will get”, he said.
According to him, those that are not directly affected by the N30, 000 minimum wage will be taken care of in the next phase which is the consequential adjustment.
“If you implement the new minimum wage, then you find out that there will be the need for consequential adjustments for all”.
The Governor noted that paying salaries is not the only function of government, adding that, at the moment, 80 per cent of the state’s income goes into salary payment.
He expressed concern over  the state civil servants who were not enjoying the as they should, stressing that, with a workforce of no fewer than 27, 000, and the state population of over 4 million, executing capital projects and paying salaries regularly have been extremely difficult.
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ABIODUN LAUDED FOR ACHIEVEMENTS IN SPORT SECTOR, EXTOLS PS’S VIRTUE

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The Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has been lauded for various achievements recorded in the sport’s sector, since inception in May, 2019.

Commending the Governor during the sent-forth ceremony organised by the Management and Staff of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, in honour of the former Permanent Secretary, Mr. Peter Fagbohun, held at the MKO Abiola International Stadium, Fun turf ground in Abeokuta, the Director Administration and Supplies, Mr. Adetunji Kanimodo, said the State government has invested greatly to the development of sport in the State.

He listed some of the achievements to include; renovation and general beatification, procurement of office equipment, installation of intercom for effective communication in the departments within the Ministry among others.

The Director noted that the successful hosting of the Ultra Race in Sagamu and the 10km race in Abeokuta had open up all the stadia to gain more attention, saying, the recent renovation of the Dipo Dina Stadium in Ijebu Ode was a great achievement.

Kanimodo revealed that all the achievements were made possible through the efforts of the outgoing Permanent Secretary, Mr. Peter Fagbohun, describing him as a purpose driven leader, who has brought improvement to the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the Ministry.

Speaking, Mr. Fagbohun said all the achievements would not have been possible without the moral and financial support of the present administration led by Prince Dapo Abiodun, adding that ‘’the service we render to humanity is the rent we pay in our lifetime as we meet to part and part to meet”.

While appreciating members of staff of the Ministry for their supports and cooperation, he charged them to extend same hand of fellowship to the new Permanent Secretary, Engr. Olayiwola Abiodun, assuring that he is forging ahead to continue in his service to the development of the  State’s Civil Service.

In his address, the newly Permanent Secretary, Engr. Abiodun said he was surprised at the level cooperation and understanding between the outgoing Permanent Secretary and the Staff, saying that the cordiality should be maintained for further development of the Ministry and the sport sector.

The event witnessed presentation of gift to the outgoing permanent Secretary, Mr. Peter Fagbohun by members of staff and management of the Ministry.

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OGUN CJ PROMISES TO BRING JUSTICE CLOSER TO PEOPLE

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The Ogun state Chief Judge, Justice Mosunmola Dipeolu has promised to bring justice closer to the people of state, saying that ignorance of the law was not an excuse and as citizen, it was a collective responsibility to abide and obey the law.

Justice Dipeolu made this known at the public presentation and launching of a book, titled “The Law At Your Fingertips”, held at Ogun state Judiciary Complex, Kobape, Abeokuta, the state capital.

She said the idea for the simplified version of the law series was a culmination of the mustard seed that was sown by her administration’s desire to bring laws to the doorsteps of the common man.

“The law at your fingertips initiative; its an initiative, geared towards aiding the common man’s access to the law, and justice in general”, she said

She added that the initiative was also aimed at simplifying all laws of the state to ensure compliance in order to make the state work for everybody, and not only just a selected few.

She said the book came at a time where various reforms, initiatives and innovations geared towards a better and more efficient administration of justice were being carried out within the state judiciary.

She noted that these various reforms, initiatives and innovations would not only create a conducive environment for the efficient administration of justice, but it would more importantly, bring justice closer to the entire people of state.

She said that the state’s Judiciary also identified the need to establish a sex offenders’ registry in the state, especially in line with the incessant number of sexual offence cases within society, where a sex offender would be convicted, noting that the name and conviction of such a convict shall be inputted on the sex offenders’ register.

She said that all the laws of the state were considered within the context of length, technicality, desired audience relevance, frequency of offences and other socio-economic factors, noting that she would not only simply the laws to make it understandable to the common man, but would also transcribe same into Yoruba language and Pidgin English.

She then implored and pleased with everyone to familiarize themselves with the “Laws at your fingertips”, especially the Kabiyesis, Iyalojas, Religious leaders, to also bring these laws to the attention of friends, relatives, neighbours, church members, townspeople, villagers and brethren, saying lowering the spate of crime, would go a long way in creating a better and more conducive society for all.

Meanwhile, the state judiciary has proposed a total of N3.24B for the fiscal year, this was made known at the Budget defense before the Ogun state lawmakers, held at House of Assembly Complex, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta,

Presenting the Budget analysis before the lawmakers, the Deputy Chief  Registrar, Ogun state Judiciary, Mrs. Adeola Adelaja, explained that personnel cost would gulp N1.65B, while the overhead cost and capital expenditure estimated to N987M and N657M respectively.

The House of Assembly Chairman on Finance and Appropriation, Hon. Olakunle Sobukanla, charged the state judiciary on quick dispensation of justice, so as not to slow down the administration of justice in the state, saying that they should also put more effort on training and retraining of their staff.

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